Johnson, Ross Could Make U. S. Shooting Team

Times Staff Writer

Dayne Johnson of Panorama City and George Ross of Saugus are in position to be selected to the U. S. shooting team following their performances at the National Rifle Assn. championships at Prado Tiro in Chino this week.

Johnson placed fourth in the trap shooting competition by hitting 382 of 400 targets. The five-day total left Johnson tied with two other competitors and forced a shoot-out to determine the final standings. Johnson hit 23 of 25 targets in the shootout for the fourth-place finish.

Ross took third in the air-pistol competition by accumulating 1,734 of a possible 1,800 points in the three-day competition.

By placing among the top four in their events, Johnson and Ross will be among those considered when the U. S. team is selected on Saturday. NRA spokesperson Tracey Attlee said the top four shooters in each competition usually qualify for the team but added that other factors sometimes alter the selections.

A few of those factors may keep Ross, 45, off the team this year. A member of the Verdugo Hills High class of '58, Ross said that the United States may field a team of only nine members this year. Usually, the U. S. team has 15 members.

As a result, Ross said his chances of making the team are slim. But after failing to make the 1984 Olympic team by seven points, Ross has his sights set on other competitions.

"The world championships (scheduled for 1986) are much more important in my priorities," he said. "But that's just my opinion. I think the world championships are bigger than the Olympics."

Ross first made the U. S. team in 1982. Competing that year in Caracas, Venezuela, Ross said he "didn't do well individually," but the United States won a silver medal in team competition.

As a member of the Pan American team in 1983, Ross won a silver medal in individual competition and the United States took the gold.

Then came the disappointment of not making the Olympic team in 1984, which has not been forgotten. "I still haven't gotten over it," Ross said.

Ross' third-place finish at Prado Tiro came in the newest Olympic shooting event, the air-pistol competition. "It will be a new Olympic event in 1988 at South Korea, and it's going to be interesting to see what they do with it (in international competition)," Ross said.

The U. S. shooting team is the equivalent of the Olympic team in non-Olympic years.

Members of the 1985 team will qualify to compete in two international events. The first will be the Moving Target Championships in Montecotini, Italy, Sept. 1-10, designed for rifle competition. Pistol shooters will go to the IV Shooting Championships of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Ga., Oct. 27 to Nov. 2.

Johnson and Ross were among more than 600 competitors in 16 national championship events at Prado Tiro.

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